About three months ago, I wrote an article for this web page on my anticipations and expectations of our trip to Palmer Station. As it was to be my first time to the ice, I had the unique perspective of not knowing what would happen over the next few weeks. So, now, with our departure from station being three days away, I am reflecting on my experiences (while I clean up several month’s worth of lab messes, mostly created by yours truly).
There are the obvious things like Antarctica is a land of stunning magnificence. It is better than any book or picture can describe. The environment is harsh and brutal, but it also possesses an innate beauty. The animals here are fantastic – the penguins, seals, and everything underwater, both algae and animal.
Diving here was an experience like no other. To everyone still wondering, yes, the water is cold. Imagine taking a 45-minute bath in a tub of ice water. However, while I was in this “bath” I had the privilege to stare at a virtual underwater Monet or Picasso.
Being on an island for two months where you work and interact with the same people day after day, I came to realize that the station personnel are some of the best people I have ever met. They are the hardest working group I have ever had the honor to meet. I will miss them very much upon my departure. Some very good friends will be left behind here on the ice. I only hope I will see them again someday in the future. Thank heavens for the wonder of e-mail.
Overall, my experiences in Antarctica, being here for the first time, were incredible. The work was hard, but very productive. Some days I thought I would never see the outside of the lab. Others were spent looking at things one could only imagine. All of our group worked very hard and accomplished a lot. However, it is now time to return home to the real world, where ice comes from the freezer and not from the glacier in the backyard.
Thanks everyone for reading, e-mailing, and keeping me in your thoughts. I had fun and I hope you enjoyed experiencing Antarctica through my eyes. Keep in touch.